Clay County


Self-made is a word that comes quickly to mind when a man has overcome difficulties that have beset his path and used them as stepping-stones by which he has climbed to a large measure of success in life. It is an honorable word and. stands for industry, perseverance, courage and self-denial, and may justly and appropriately be used in commenting on the life and career of Anthony Doherty, one of the prominent business men of Clay City, Illinois. That success should come to such a man is in justice due, for the untrained lad who overcomes obstacles by sheer persistency and indefatigable labor certainly deserves such reward. Mr. Doherty was born in the state of Louisiana, August 11, 1858, and is a son of Robert H. and Sarah A. (Smith) Doherty, and grandson of Anthony and Charlotte (Swayzee) Doherty.

Mr. Doherty's grandfather was a wealthy Louisiana planter and slave-owner, and died just before the Civil war, while his grandfather on the maternal side was a native of Massachusetts who moved to Louisiana and there spent the rest of his life. The latter had a family of five children, to all of whom he left a good estate. Robert H. Doherty was born in Louisiana, November 3, 1831, and received excellent educational advantages, being a graduate of Bethany (Virginia) College. He was engaged in sugar planting in his native state. He died September 27, 1860. His widow was left with the estate that had been given her by her father, but this was lost, like thousands of other fortunes, when the Confederacy went to its doom, and Mrs. Doherty was persuaded to move to a little farm belonging to a maiden aunt in Illinois. Accordingly, she came to this state in 1871, settled on the little property and proceeded to rear and educate her children as best she might, and Anthony secured a good education in the schools of Clay City. After completing his mental training he started life on his little forty-acre farm, but he had no inclination for the vocation of an agriculturist and after giving the life a trial entered a drug store, working for a year without pay, except his board, in order to learn the business. During the next two years he worked as a clerk in drug stores at a salary of thirty dollars per month, but found he was not advancing fast enough, and so secured employment as a school teacher. During the next six years he was employed as an educator in various parts of the county and for one year was principal of schools in Clay City, and in 1882 found he had saved enough, by constant economy, to purchase a one-half interest in a drug store. Subsequently he and his partner divided the stock and Mr. Doherty took his brother as partner, under the firm name of Doherty Brothers, a concern that has conducted a pharmacy in Clay City for more than twenty-eight years. In 1881 Mr. Doherty first went on the road as a commercial traveler for a drug house, and he has traveled nearly all the time since. At one time he decided to leave the road, but after a short trial found that his health demanded traveling, and accordingly took up the work and again became a "Knight of the Grip." Since 1899 Mr. Doherty has been in the service of the J. S. Merrill Drug Company, and he is known to members of the trade all over the country. Mr. Doherty has invested much of his capital in valuable lands in Illinois, and nows owns an excellent, well-paying farm of one hundred and forty-eight acres, located near Clay City. He is a capable business man, and to each of his several enterprises brings a complete and intricate knowledge of detail, showing the result of careful and conscientious study. He is a prominent Mason, belonging to Clay City Lodge, No. 488, A. F. & A. M.; Flora Chapter, No. 154, R, A. M.; Gorin Commandery, No. 14 K. T. of Olney, and has served as master of his lodge and as district deputy grand master for a number of years He gives his political allegiance to the Democratic party, but has been too busy to think of seeking public preferment. With his family he attends the Christian church.

Mr. Doherty was first married to Miss Maggie Smith, who died July 5. 1880, daughter of John Smith. On December 28, 1881, his second marriage occurred, when he was united with Miss Clara Souther, daughter of Simon Souther, a native of Wurtemberg, Germany. Mr. Souther who was a carpenter by trade and came to the United States when a lad of eight years, lived for a number of years at Salem, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Doherty have had seven children, namely: Ethel, who married Dr. C. E. Duff, a well-known dental practitioner of Lawrenceville, Illinois; Robert, an electrical engineer at Schenectady, New York, in the employ of the General Electric Company, and a graduate of the class of 1909, University of Illinois; Maude, who lives at home with her parents; Stephen Swayzee, who in April, 1912, graduated from the Chicago Veterinary College; Thomas Anthony, traveling in Illinois for a wholesale drug establishment; Chester C., a student at the Lawrenceville high school; and -Kathleen, who lives at home and is attending school.

Extracted 09 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from History of Southern Illinois, by George W. Smith, published in 1912, volume 3, pages 1460-1461.

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